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Discussion on Pakistan's problems on another forum.

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    Discussion on Pakistan's problems on another forum.

    I wrote this for a discussion going on FP's forum.

    I thought I might get a few reactions here.

    So here goes.

    I am hereby sending my idea of what the key elements of any future structure ought to be.

    Many a times Pakistan has managed to pull itself out of a political quagmire and too many a times the opportunity to build on that effort has gone unanswered.

    I am probably witnessing yet another manner in which such an opportunity is being allowed to slip through.

    Pakistan has a proportion of population that is illiterate. Unfortunately, the ratio of literate people is not high enough to merit them becoming a swinging vote in any election.

    The fact of the matter remains that in a parliamentary system the whole basis of running for office is to do with the eventual receipt of a powerful portfolio. In many circumstances in the past, it has been the key to deadlock on key issues. Parliamentary systems bread political powerplay, the most evident of which have been seen in Pakistan, India and Britain.

    Pakistan requires a system that allows people of personal experience and competence to hold key positions in certain areas, if not all, without asking them to dedicate valuable amounts of their time to political wrangling. The reason why so much as been achieved by this administration in so little time has to do with many factors, the most prominent of which is the idea of a centralised control of decision making, centered upon the head of each portfolio who is ultimately in charge and responsible for the performance of their wing of government.

    Such a responsibility has to be given to one who is competent in the area or field of question. A minister in this regime is defined by the fact that he/she is a member of an elite, if not a leader, in the profession in question. 'NOT' a person who has been elected and has managed to gain enough political clout to be handed over an important, if not sensitive, portfolio.

    Once you APPOINT a person from amongst the elite of the profession to the post you then have the added advantage that the decisions being taken are not to safe guard a political standoff. The people who are part of the department are kept on edge because even the all powerful secretaries have to "explain" to individuals who are as experienced if not more in the field in question than they are. Furthermore, policy and decision making then relies upon the input of the peers of the profession and not fellow politicians who may or may not have any qualified opinion to state. Thus ussuring in the think tanks to assist in decision making instead of the humdrum political views of the want to be politicians.

    In order to facilitate this there must be a provision that any minister chosen would have to be non elected, i.e. appointed by the head of state and should have a minimum degree of competence in the field that they represent. A level of experience can also be included into the requirements of the position and it would be considered desirable for the peers of the profession to hold him/her in high regard.

    Furthermore, if any elected representative may be eligible to be appointed at such a position they would have to forego their inclusion amongst the elected representatives before accepting their portfolio.

    To simplify the long winded statement: Any person who is a member of the assemblies, provincial or national, who is appointed a minister at national or provincial level, will have to resign from his/her elected post and their position would have to be contested again. Furthermore, the head of state is not bound to appoint any ministerial position from amongst the elected representatives.

    The assemblies will act as a check for ministries and committees would be formed by the leader of the house from within elected representatives to hold ministries accountable. These comities would be allowed to quiz the minister twice a year on his/her performance and that of his/her department, and a recommendation would be made to the leader of the house which he/she would forward to the head of state. The head of state would then be able to hold that minister accountable to his/her actions.

    The ministries would be accountable to the head of state and him/her alone.

    Thus the head of each department is accountable to his/her minister who is then accountable and responsible for the actions of the ministry as a whole. It is duty of the house of representatives, provincial and national, to probe the minister upon his/her performance biannually and then report to the leader of the respective houses. The head of state or province would then view the recommendations and the reasons for them.

    Thus the ultimate accountability centers on the head of state or province.

    Hence, one person has to answer to the masses and would have to show the masses that he/she is capable of managing the affairs of the state and is capable of selecting the most competent people available to him/her to run the various portfolios of government.

    Thus the elected representatives of both national and provincial assemblies will act as they are supposed to, they are the conscience of the masses and should inquire about how and where the publicís purse is being spent. The leader of the house would be the liaison between the representatives and the head of state/province. The head of state/province would be accountable to the people at designated intervals and would have a set term in office that is not subject to any political recourse or destabilization.

    In such a system you would require the head of state/province and the leader of each house to be elected directly from the masses and not chosen by the elected representatives through an indirect election. Hence, the person solely accountable to the people is chosen by them too, keeping a straightforward and easy to enforce check on the head of state/province.

    The names of each position or procedure are of little consequence and can be chosen according to the acceptability of the people involved.

    Essentially, the elected members of the system would have to be the following.

    The Head of state/province and his/her Leader of the house. Both to be elected directly from the masses and be elected as a team, similar to the Nazim and Naib.

    Members of the national assembly.

    The system allows for the provincial representatives to be chosen from those whom have already been elected indirectly to the highest level of local bodies. Thus reducing the number of times the electorate has to go to the polls and also focusing attention of the electorate on the provincial head and his leader of the house. This will allow for less friction between the political representatives and also encourage provincial level politicians to be groomed from within the local bodies thus allowing a greater degree of representation of ACTUAL electorate. Hence, any provincial representative would have to be considered by firstly their immediate neighbours, then sector of their city or rural area and then their greater area within the province as a true representative. Also destroying the ability of people to hold provincial representation for an area without residing within that area on a a permanent basis.

    Thus, a system that suits the requirements of the nation would be brought forward and would limit the amount of power play that we have seen in the past without alienating the masses as a whole. Also allowing the people to understand that the highest post within a profession can only be held by someone who is competent in that profession, thus encouraging the level of literacy in the society and also creating a high degree of reliance on such people as opposed to those who have managed to become elected by a disparity of reasons.

    Thus, taking the country into an era of high reliance on intellectual ability instead of the ability to play politics.


    It started a discussion with a Deepak Malhotra and has been progressing gradually.

    I want to know what you guys think ?